Thursday, May 18, 2023

We need change

Over on The Kaka, Bernard Hickey is calling the Loafers Lodge fire a symptom of our bipartisan, low-tax, low-debt, no-housing, fuck-the-poor, asset bubble for the rich political consensus. And he's appropriately cynical about the response:

So far, the response in real financial terms by the Government is business as usual: investigate the individual disaster, change some regulations and blame the residents and/or the landlord.
But will there be more spending on social housing, and on benefits, so people at the bottom aren't warehoused in firetraps, waiting to be burned to death because neither government nor landlord is interested in paying for basic safety (let alone dignity)? Finance Minister Grant Robertson says "wait for the budget", but we know the answer will be "no". Quite apart from pre-election risk-aversion, the Labour party is completely uninterested in fixing anything, in changing the toxic status quo. They're the party of excuses. That's all they ever offer. Excuses for why nothing can be done, for why things have to stay the way they are. And meanwhile the Ministers making those excuses are sitting on their $296,007 salaries (plus slush), and on their piles of hoarded houses (paid for by the public, thanks to generous parliamentary allowances and rortable expenses), collecting their tax-free capital gains. They are the problem. They are profiting from this mess. Of course they're uninterested in fixing anything.

We know what the solutions are. More social housing and higher benefits, so everyone has a decent home and enough to live on. Taxing the rich, with wealth taxes, land taxes, and inheritance taxes, both to pay for that and other public services, and to break the intergenerational cycle of hoarding which drives inequality. And rapidly lowering emissions, so our homes aren't all flooded, burned, or blown down by the consequences of the richs' pollution. These are popular policies, but Labour won't offer any of that in the budget tomorrow. While they may pretend to offer some of it come election time, the moment they're elected it'll be back-burnered and it'll be back to excuses and the status quo, just like it was in 2017 and 2020. If we want those things, we need to vote for parties who will offer it: The Greens and Te Pāti Māori.